Mental Help Therapist Ohio

How to Stop Needing Approval

It can be exhausting to feel overly concerned about the opinions of others. For myself, I notice that when my people-pleasing tendencies are more present, I feel a lot more tired and a lot less fulfilled. If you’re someone who struggles with a consistent hunger for approval, you’re not alone!

Seeking approval can be so draining because we’ll never be fully satisfied by external approval. This is because when looking to others for consistent validation, we’re:

1) Placing our worth in something we can’t control.

2) Even when we do obtain approval, it won’t be long until we’ll need to search for it again.
Here are some tips and tricks that may help you to be less reliant on the approval of others:

  • Promote self-acceptance. Oftentimes the need for external approval results from a lack of approval from yourself. Working toward allowing all parts of yourself to exist can result in naturally needing less validation from others. Check out my blog on self-acceptance for more guidance on this topic.
  • Be lighthearted with yourself. You’re going to make mistakes sometimes. Part of putting yourself out in the world and challenging yourself is the occasional (sometimes it can feel like more than occasional!) screwing up. The way you handle these moments makes all the difference in how you feel. Take the pressure off yourself to “never look stupid” and instead, attempt to shake it off and maybe even chuckle. Sort of like how when you trip while walking and you laugh it off, you can use this same mentality for day-to-day human moments. To quote the TikTok meme, “You know what it never was? That serious. It was never that serious.”
  • Remember that others are focused on themselves. Understand that most of the time, others are not thinking about you/ the things that you do nearly as much as you are… because they’re thinking about themselves! Often when you’re overthinking the way others perceive you, they’re likely not even noticing. If they are judging you, remember that someone’s judgment of another person can often include them projecting their own thoughts, feelings, and insecurities. Aim to surround yourself with people who see your value.

At the end of the day, it is important to work toward being satisfied by your own self-approval. I personally like to remind myself that I am a smart, capable adult who is looking out for herself and no longer needs to seek approval from others. Part of transitioning out of people-pleasing and into living an authentic life means that people will disagree/ disapprove more often. This just means you’re doing it right!

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